Rod Blagojevich: 'I'm incredibly sorry'

Dec 7, 2011, 10:02 by R.E. Christian

A contrite Rod Blagojevich pleaded for mercy Wednesday in federal court in Chicago, apologizing for his behavior while governor of Illinois.

Blagojevich, who faces sentencing on 18 counts, including an effort to sell the U.S. Senate seat that once belonged to President Obama, told U.S. District Judge James Zagel, "I'm so incredibly sorry" for the actions that led to his convictions, WBBM-TV, Chicago, reported.

Zagel has said he would pronounce sentence Wednesday, following a two-day hearing. Prosecutors have asked for 15- to 20 years in prisoner for the ousted governor.

Without admitting guilt to preserve his appeal, Blagojevich said he never meant to commit any crime, apologized for attempting to try the case in the media and accepted blame for setting the schemes in motion.

The second day of a two-day hearing began with prosecutors explaining why they think Blagojevich deserves a long prison term.

Zagel said Tuesday imposing the maximum sentence of 30 years to life was "simply not appropriate" for Blagojevich's crimes. But he said the twice-elected Democrat intended to gain more than $1.6 million from his scheme and must be held accountable, even if he ultimately received nothing.

Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky acknowledged the former governor, removed from office in January 2009 after an impeachment trial, committed a crime when he asked for a job for himself in exchange for naming a replacement for Obama in the Senate.

"We accept the fact that's a crime, it's illegal, he should not have done it," Sorosky told Zagel. "That crime does not call for a 15-year jail sentence."

"Be merciful," Blagojevich's wife, Patti, wrote to Zagel in excerpts from a letter read in court.

"I need him here," Blagojevich daughter 15-year-old Amy wrote in a separate letter read at the hearing.

"I need him here for my high school graduation. ... I'll need him when my heart gets broken."

Source: UPI